If the main routes through Atlanta, Georgia can be called "arteries", then Atlanta has been long overdue for the traffic equivalent of a coronary thrombosis or a cerebral hemorrhage.
Yesterday, it got both.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., Channel 2 news cut to a live shot of horrifyingly thick black smoke billowing from under an overpass at I-85 and GA State Road 400. This is the height of rush hour (or, non-rush hour, however you want to put it) and 85 was crawling with commuters desperate to get home.
The Georgia State Patrol, fearing for the integrity of the bridge, stopped traffic.
Minutes later, the bridge collapsed.
Amazingly, NO ONE was killed or injured. In fact, NO ONE was even on the bridge when it collapsed.
However, the result of the coronary thrombosis of the highway will be Atlanta's own version of bypass surgery.
Beginning this morning, if you want to get into the city of Atlanta, you can't go down I-85 south. Instead, you'll have to exit on I-285, which goes around the city of Atlanta, and pick whatever access point you think will get you to where you need/want to go. If you want to get downtown, your best bet may be to take I-20 from I-285.
If you want to go north on I-85, you'll have to get off at 17th street, just north of downtown.
Both I-85 north and south in the area of the collapse are closed until further notice.
Which leads one to ask: Is there a traffic equivalent of beta blockers for Atlanta?
Well, possibly. One is called MARTA, our public transportation system, comprised of buses and trains which may or may not get you where you want/need to go when you want/need to go there. Another is working from home, which people are being encouraged to do today. There's also car pooling.
Dekalb County Schools are closed today, giving the kids there a one-day head start on their spring break. (Matthew's home today. Gwinnett County is using an unused snow day as a holiday today.)
What caused the fire?
We don't know yet what started it. What people think was burning was a bunch of plastic cables stored under the bridge. One (now former) Facebook friend posted "terrorist attack", with NO PROOF. That is just plain irresponsible. (And if it WERE Al-Qaida or ISIS, it would be a heck of a lot more coordinated and a lot more spectacular.)
For now, GDOT and whoever else is in charge will be performing bypass surgery and eventually reconstruction of the arteries.
Brace yourselves for a long hospitalization and recovery period!
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.